William Voegeli of the Claremont Institute presents a sterling example of a movement con who doesn’t know how to use a mirror:
The danger liberalism poses to the American experiment comes from its disposition to deplete rather than replenish the capital required for self-government. Entitlement programs overextend not only financial but political capital. They proffer new “rights,” goad people to demand and expand those rights aggressively, and disdain truth in advertising about the nature or scope of the new debts and obligations those rights will engender. The experiment in self-government requires the cultivation, against the grain of a democratic age, of the virtues of self-reliance, patience, sacrifice, and restraint. … Instead, liberalism promotes snarling but unrugged individualism, combining an absolute right “to the lifestyle of one’s choice (regardless of the social cost) with an equally fundamental right to be supported at state expense,” as the Manhattan Institute’s Fred Siegel once described it.
Hardly a word of this does not apply with equal force to “conservatives” who believe that the world’s biggest military apparatus can be sustained through endless deficits, with Potemkin prosperity at home underwritten by rock-bottom interest rates set by the Federal Reserve. “The lifestyle of one’s choice (regardless of social cost)” — what does Voegeli think follows from George H.W. Bush’s remark (at an Earth Day “summit” in 1992, no less) that “the American way of life is not up for negotiation”? Liberals expand a multitude of small spurious rights; cons like Voegeli perpetuate the cult of the most profligate right of all — the right to indefinite economic expansion, even by force or fraud.